Elon Musk Apologizes for Calling Thailand Rescuer a Pedophile

Musk's Twitter exchange with the diver had rattled Tesla investors. AFP

The Tesla CEO has faced an intense backlash over the unfounded claim against Vernon Unsworth, an expert caver who participated in the rescue mission that saved 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Thailand. Elon Musk stated in his tweet, "that the fault is mine and mine alone".

Elon Musk has apologised to the British diver he branded a "pedo" in a Twitter tirade after he rejected the tech billionaire's submarine idea pitched during the Thailand cave rescue.

He then tweeted, "Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it".

Mr Unsworth, who provided mapping knowledge of the cave to rescuers, said Mr Musk's prototype would have had "absolutely no chance of working".

Unsworth told him to stick his submarine "where it hurts", which could be construed as a sexual act.

In an interview published on Friday, Musk told Bloomberg he had believed he could "attack" people who addressed negative tweets toward him, so long as they attacked him first, but said he would attempt to limit his interactions with critical tweets.

More news: Twitter suspends 2 accounts linked to Russian intelligence after hacking indictment

While the rest of the world was celebrating the successful rescue, Musk's offensive comments have cast a shadow over Mr Unsworth. In April, Tesla's stock fell 5.16% after Musk mocked analysts who were anxious about the company's financial health. The apology comes after lawyers explained that the tweet could land the CEO of Tesla (TSLA), SpaceX, and Neuralink in some legal trouble.

Gene Munster, head of research at Loup Ventures, said that if Musk didn't change his attitude to social media, "it could have a dramatic negative impact on the company".

Tesla investors urged Musk to apologize in an open letter on Tuesday, warning him that his actions were "shaking investor confidence". Musk replied by referring to Unsworth as "pedo guy".

Musk's Sunday tweet, which he later deleted, had sent investors away from Tesla stock, which fell almost 3 percent Monday.

Musk has an up and down relationship with Twitter which he has used for both good and bad in the last 12 months.

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